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York College of Pennsylvania, Schmidt Library

Fake News Resources

This guide explores what fake news is, how it affects us, and how faculty can incorporate information about fake news in their lesson plans.

Test Your Fake News Skills

Try out this Fake News game! See if you can spot which articles are real and which are fake.

What is Fake News?

Even the term "fake news" can be a little misleading. Fake news isn't limited to just information that is entirely made up.

Fake news: information designed to misinform, misrepresent facts, or spread fabricated information.

Fake news is nothing new. For as long as there has been information to share, there have been people who also share made-up stories and misleading news. The internet, however, makes it easier than ever to share information. So, fake news can come from anywhere, and we need to be prepared to recognize it and question our sources of information.

Types of Misleading News

Click here for a text-based version, other language, and to learn more about each type of misleading news.

Why is fake news a problem?

Share of adults who believe fake news is a major problem in the United States in 2017, by age

Chart uses survey data from a December 2016 PEW Research Center report

Despite all the many differences and disagreements that fake news can embody, there is one thing that most people can agree to regardless of age: fake news is a problem. From international politics to domestic elections, exerts have been investigating the degree to which fake news has impacted society. However perhaps the biggest problem with fake news in a democratic society, is that lack of clarity on exactly what the facts are prevents voters and elected officials from reaching a consensus.

Why does fake news matter?

  • Erodes trust
  • Builds and feeds on community divisions
  • Threat to a notion of truth
  • Toxic for mainstream media - all media given the same equivalence
  • Makes citizens less able to make decisions based on facts
  • Toxic for public discourse
  • Threats to health
  • Worse case scenario - fuels hate speech, leads to violence and death
  • Distorts democratic processes
  • Weaponizes information

Source: BBC (2018)

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